The owner of a Buzzards Bay property deemed unsafe for firefighters to enter has been given a deadline to bring his building in compliance with the town’s anti-blight bylaw or face fines.
The structure is at 328 Main Street.
The July 9 deadline was issued to owner Michael J. Maxim by the Bourne Board of Selectmen during the board’s meeting on June 18.
Mr. Maxim told the board that it is his plan to raze the current structure on the property and build new. The new building would be mixed-use with commercial office space on the first floor and a two-bedroom residential apartment on the second floor. He added that it is his plan to use the current foundation for the new structure.
Mr. Maxim said he is working with Canal Land Surveying and Permitting Inc. to draw up a conceptual site plan. The engineer he is working with could not attend Tuesday’s meeting, he said. He requested a two-week continuance at which time the engineer could attend and explain the plans.
The single-family home is located across from the Starbucks coffeehouse and just off Belmont Circle. The Bourne Fire Department has placed a red X on the building, signifying that it is unsafe for emergency responders to enter.
The X warns firefighters that they should fight any fire there from the outside and use extreme caution when deciding whether to enter the building. The building has also been deemed an eyesore under the town’s anti-blight program.
Board chairman Judith M. Froman suggested that Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino enforce the town’s blight bylaw on the property. The bylaw states that anyone in violation after an initial seven day warning shall be fined $50 per day for 30 days, $100 a day for another 30 days if nothing is done, and $200 per day after that until the violation is remedied.
“That would mean remediation of the building in terms of no boarded-up windows, making sure it looks like it’s not an abandoned building, making sure it stays clear of brush surrounding it, and it looks more habitable,” Ms. Froman said.
Board members asked when Mr. Maxim planned to take down the current structure. He suggested that he did not plan to raze the building until his plans for the new one have been approved. He said that taking it down now while he is undergoing the permitting process would place an onerous financial burden on him because he would also have to fill in the foundation, only to then dig it out again later.
Mr. Guerino pointed out that Mr. Maxim faced a financial burden either way because of the fines he faced under the blight bylaw. To avoid being fined under the blight bylaw, Mr. Guerino said, money would have to be spent replacing windows and doors, and doing some landscaping to make the structure look habitable.
“One way or another,” he said, “unfortunately, Mr. Maxim’s going to have to spend some money, either to tear it down or to get it 'un-blightable.' ”
Selectman Jared P. MacDonald made a motion that Mr. Maxim be given until the board’s next meeting on Tuesday, July 9, to work with town staff on measures he needs to take with the building to comply with the blight bylaw.
Mr. Maxim noted that under the blight bylaw, any building that has been abandoned for 45 days or longer must be occupied in order to be in compliance. Selectman James L. Potter concurred with Mr. Maxim’s interpretation, but added that exceptions can be made.
“They don’t have to be in there,” Mr. Potter said, “it has to look like it is inhabited. That’s within the bylaw, it says that.”
The board voted unanimously to Mr. MacDonald’s motion. Mr. Maxim will be back before the selectmen to update them on his compliance with the blight bylaw and his plans for the property on July 9.